Breakdown of paradigms: why Coco Chanel's fashion rules no longer work
Breakdown of paradigms: why Coco Chanel's fashion rules no longer work

The author of "Fashion Blog" Anastasia Alekseenko talks about important things.

Breakdown of paradigms: why Coco Chanel's fashion rules no longer work Anastasia Alekseenko

Anastasia Alekseenko Author of "Fashion Blog"

We have to talk a lot about fashion as a visual code of our time. And in exactly the same way, you have to listen to the opinions of different people about what is happening in this very fashion today. Let's talk about what today is a problem for us in a certain sense.

It used to be very easy to look good. Yes, it took money and effort. But the point of this effort was very clear. You just need to learn certain rules and follow them. The rest is just a matter of financial capacity. The past of fashion is the century of fashionable "excellent girls". Learn to see fashionable rules and follow them - you will be known as beautiful and stylish. Learn to anticipate them, be the first to feel and learn new rules - you will become a style icon. Learn to change the rules and become a trendsetter. Chanel has not changed fashion, has not turned it upside down. She just changed the system of rules. But the very idea that there should be a certain system to be followed remained. Moreover, Gabrielle Chanel was a dictator in terms of rules. And it was not for nothing that her speeches were disassembled into quotes - they are similar to recipes for preparing semi-finished products from the store: put in the oven, reheat, serve. Accept compliments and pretend that you cooked it all yourself.


It is generally accepted that the fashion of the last twenty years has not produced anything new. We only comprehend the aesthetic concepts of the past. And fashion itself (well, that is, as an art) has died and does not produce new meanings.

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In fact, there has been a very strong shift in fashion in the last two decades. If in the twentieth century each decade was marked by a certain set of rules, now - there is no such. And the main change is precisely this departure from the very concept of a clear stylish paradigm that must be followed in order to be “in the stream”.

On the one hand, this gives us a certain freedom. The freedom to choose the clothes we want. The freedom to be yourself. The freedom to express and demonstrate those values, ideas and meanings that are close to you. Once I wrote about the similarity of today's meanings of fashion and meanings of dance directions (read the article "Dance and the meanings of fashion"). As each dancer has his own, inherent only style of dance and style / direction that he follows, so is fashion today, at the same time, there are completely different and dissimilar semantic directions. Note that I am now talking not about trends or styles, but I am talking exclusively about the semantic content of images. And by the way, as I have recently noticed that many dancers are becoming generalists, bringing my main style is elements of other directions, and in fashion I increasingly see people trying to mix different directions, express different ideas, combine and combine meanings.

If you simplify and coarse everything, then a dress with sneakers is not just a fashion whim, but an idea to combine femininity and the absence of the need for self-restraint, which are inherent in classic femininity. When you try to comprehend in such categories not only catwalk collections, but street style even at the lowest level, you begin to understand more clearly where today's fashion is heading.

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But alas, freedom has a downside. And she especially "strikes" those who like to live by the rules. It used to be much easier: you pick up a bag to match your shoes, and nail polish to lipstick. Life is clear, simple, and all you need is just more money. Today everything is completely different. You are free. But this freedom obliges you in something.Some people in this freedom are like circus horses that are accustomed to running in a circle all their lives and, finding themselves in an open field, do not understand at all how and where to move.

Yes, of course, there is a certain difficulty in the fact that today you are expected to demonstrate yourself through clothes, including your system of values, those meanings that are close to you in spirit and that you produce yourself. But alas, if you are far from the production of meanings, if you have not blinded yourself as a person, then it turns out that there is nothing special to show you. And all your sartorial reality boils down to finding and guessing current trends and those recipes that will help you look "your own" in this world of new fashion.

I often see such people slipping into what I call low-fashion (emphasizing female sexuality, demonstrative fashion, clear cultural and fashion codes, adherence to a transformed, but still existing system of rules). Simply because it greatly simplifies their life. And the point is not even that you have no resources (neither temporary, nor intellectual, nor financial - although the latter is not so important today) for the formation of your own image. And the fact that such a person is not yet ready to accept the very idea that he will have to work on his image (in the broadest sense of the word) on his own. Honestly, even those who seriously declare that they do not care about their appearance are much more free in this regard (not least for this reason, they are almost style icons today).


In general, in the face of today's stylistic tasks, people of the “correct” type feel the way a Soviet excellent student would feel when entering Oxford, when instead of the usual essay about Katherine as a ray of light in a dark kingdom on the exam, they have to discuss with the examiner on the topic “How do you think who has done more in preserving the authenticity and conveying the realities of the time: history or literature? " When, at the same moment, the world around is filled with people who, in principle, do not feel like being examined, but feel themselves at least as full participants in the sartorial discussion, and even its moderators.

For those who are interested, now I do live broadcasts on Facebook twice a week, and most often they are devoted to just such topics. Fashion sociology and fashion theory. If anyone is interested, join us. The broadcasts are held on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 am Kiev time.

Anastasia Alekseenko, author of the Fashion Blog

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